Don’t Write off Paper Just Yet

April 1, 2016

Tech-savvy millennials still opt for paper in matters of trust and sincerity.

It’s hard to picture today’s youths without their thumbs attached to a smartphone or some other electronic device. Products of the digital age, our young people—labeled “millennials”—often prefer digital formats of traditional paper documents. According to a recent study of 16 – 23-year-olds, 79 percent receive electronic bank statements, 67 percent use digital coupons, and 61 percent say they read newspapers online.

While technology may be the first language of millennials, they’re not writing off paper just yet. Yes, they’re deeply connected through social media websites, text messaging, and email, but the same study shows they prefer paper for basic personal and business communications—a fact that increases with age and employment. Here’s a quick look at when and why millennials prefer paper.

In Paper They Trust

Millennials hold their trust in paper, compared to digital documents. According to TRU, a division of TNS Research Global, paper is seen as more official (88%), more trusted (82%), easier to keep confidential (78%), and safer/more secure (74%).

In addition:

77% – Say documents are less trustworthy in digital format because they can be altered without your knowledge.

63% – Often print out documents for their records, even if they have them saved electronically.

90% – Prefer to have hard copies of important documents.

65% – Number of millenials that find it easier to view or read something on paper than on a computer screen or other tech device.

A Bond that can’t be Broken

Millennials have a powerful attachment to paper.

  • Eight out of 10 say they can’t imagine their lives without paper.
  • Nine out of 10 say that despite today’s technological advances, they doubt they will ever give up paper completely.

Millenials still prefer paper over digital when it comes to:  books (78%), magazines (71%), and newspapers (52%).

Perhaps the strongest bond with paper is emotional. If forced to choose, the majority would rather receive: a birthday card in the mail than via email (87%), a mailed invitation than an evite (57%), and a handwritten letter than an email (55%).

Source: “Millennial Paper Usage and Attitudes (2011),” TRU, a division of TNS Research Global